Credit: Vertical Entertainment
by Matt Lynch Featured Film Genre Views

SKYLIN3S | Liam O’Donnell

December 15, 2020

SKYLIN3S is a wonderfully weird and wild addition to the Skyline series and a bright star of the DTV renaissance.

Anybody clocking the original Skyline way back in 2010, impressed or not with its no-budget narrative ambitions, probably didn’t expect that it would spawn an absurdly entertaining DTV franchise with a level of labyrinthine plotting and goofball enthusiasm that rivals the Fast and Furiouses. Original screenwriter Liam O’Donnell went on to write and direct 2017’s Beyond Skyline, a completely bonkers escalation in terms of scale and scope that inexplicably took its characters on a spaceship ride to Laos, and he now follows up on that film’s promise of a sequel to deliver another cheerfully weird installment with SKYLIN3S.

You can try following the endless plot, but it’s not advisable. Suffice it to say that the original film’s alien invaders have split into rival factions, with a friendly side allied with the humans. Rose is an alien-human hybrid conceived in part one, born in part two, and due to accelerated growth now the adult heroine with superhuman powers and the ability to control the alien tech — basically, the series’ John Connor. She’s recruited for a strike force mission to retrieve some weird macguffin device or other from another planet so that a mysterious virus that’s killing the good guy aliens and disrupting a tenuous peace can be cured.

What follows is a glorious, dirt-cheap hybrid of Aliens, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with a motley group of space marines, martial artists, and rubber-suit monsters teaming up in dimly lit, largely green-screened environments to do karate-kicks, shoot lasers, and generally react to the film’s constant whiplash plotting that’s best left to head-scratcher status. Just roll with it.

O’Donnell is clearly an unapologetic nerd, peppering the script with  geek references both explicit and implicit, loading up with callbacks to the previous entries that only make things more baffling, and taking evident glee in pushing the limitations of his seriously strained budget. The whole thing is unfailingly delivered in earnest; leaning into silliness without ever walking away from an opportunity for some shameless melodrama. It’s the kind of commitment to a vision of sturdy, cheap thrills that’s become a hallmark of DTV genre cinema, and this series continues to be one of its brightest stars. Bring on part four.